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School Marketing Blog

The professional school marketing manager needs to be up-to-date with the latest school marketing strategies and resources to successfully implement the school marketing plan. This school marketing blog enables school marketing professionals to engage in blog discussions relating to the school marketing issues of today. The 'School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed)', 2011, by Bryan Foster, forms the basis for most of these blog posts.

Top 10 Free School Marketing Strategies

Monday, April 02, 2012

Free or Inexpensive

A successful school marketing plan and budget will need to incorporate most of the top ten free school marketing strategies if it is to be successful. The top 10 strategies can be free, or at least relatively inexpensive, depending on the school’s present arrangements.

By effectively using the media and the school website, there should be little expense activating these top 10 strategies, especially when the digital option is the primary method used, instead of hardcopies. If it can assumed that the school has a website, which can be managed by the school, as well as a school signboard and a good digital camera, then these strategies can be implemented for free or little expense.

The first strategy is in itself free, yet is also reliant upon a number of other key strategies to be implemented successfully – ‘Word of Mouth’.

Top 10 Free School Marketing Strategies

1.    Word of Mouth - School's Reputation
2.    Quality Teaching and Opportunities for Students – Curricula and Extra Curricula Activities
3.    Professionalism of staff in action and appearance
4.    School Website
5.    Use of the Media - both traditional and contemporary – including editorial, images  and advertising
6.    Information Sessions - night and day times – including observation of the school in action (a transparent approach), parent nights, entertainment by students, school boards and parent associations, open days, etc.
7.    Newsletters and Flyers - digital (and hardcopy where needed)
8.    Front Signboard
9.    Social Networking Sites e.g. Facebook and Twitter
10.  Cross Information (within the region’s schools or parish)

The number 1 strategy, ‘Word of Mouth’, is dependent on those espousing various views about the school being well informed. To do this, the next 9 strategies have an important role to play.

The school needs:

•    to have a high quality curriculum,
•    an easy to use professional website,
•    the ability to engage the local media so that the good stories are told to the whole community, and even the negative stories being told with the school’s professional approach for solutions being seen in a positive light,
•    openness to various visits to the school and
•    the acceptance of the place of the digital flyers and newsletters

•    acknowledgement of the place of social media in today’s digital world.

Conclusion

Free key strategies are often the best approaches to marketing your school. When the school has set up a professional website and the school community has a positive attitude toward the school and what it offers, along with what the digital age can offer, then a free, or relatively inexpensive, school marketing plan is possible. This approach can also work when the attitude of the community is not as high – however, there may need to be a need for various forms of paid advertising to counteract such negativity. The best school marketing plan would incorporate most of the free top 10 strategies for marketing your school.

The 'Top 10 Free School Marketing Strategies' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com



How to Deal with a Media Interview Request with Little or No Warning

Saturday, January 14, 2012
The media will sometimes request an interview from you giving little or no warning - and expect you to respond immediately. There are various strategies which can help with this difficult situation. Be well prepared before being interviewed by the media, even if this means delaying it until you become better informed.

When?

The request usually happens when a story is considered 'big' and relatively serious or controversial and the media wants to run with the story on that day or the next. They basically want your instant attention and response, whether you are prepared or not.

This may be when something controversial or of a significant status has occurred. The suggestions on how to deal with this situation are relevant for most circumstances, be these professional, business or community based. The case study below will concentrate on a church or parish scenario.

Examples of media requests would include:

•   a disaster where the school has had major damage, such as from a major storm and fire, or it may sometimes involve arson or other criminal damage, etc
•   a leader, staff member or school employee has been allegedly involved with something illegal
•   a former leader, staff member or school student has done something highly successful, controversial or allegedly illegal
•   the government or local council have or will make a decision that impacts significantly on the school, church or parish, etc.

School Response

Initially in this case you need to advise the media that the school Marketing Manager or school Principal will speak with them shortly.

You have every right to consider your options before speaking.

It is often best to contact the system's Communications and Marketing Manager, if such a role or similar one exists. This manager is usually familiar with best practice for such events. The manager will either become directly involved and speak on behalf of the parish or offer suggestions on the best approach. The Manager may also contact others within or outside the diocese who may be able to offer advice e.g. lawyers, building or insurance advisors / consultants, counsellors, etc.

Offering a "No comment" is often fraught with potential misinterpretation or even worse. The outlet could, in this situation, just take the story according to the information they have, which may not be the truth or whole truth.

Comment truthfully.

You do not need to give all the details but offer what is needed for the media enquiry allowing for legal, privacy and ethical considerations.

Initially this may be just a simple, "Thank you for the enquiry. We will get back to you shortly."

When you are ready contact the media and arrange the interview - be careful not to leave too much time between the media's request and your response.

Being very well prepared before being interviewed by the media is a very necessary requirement for success. If you have not got all the details needed, request a short period of time to gather the necessary information - but do not leave the media waiting too long - otherwise they may go with the information they have, no matter its accuracy or fullness.

TThe 'How to Deal with a Media Interview Request with Little or No Warning' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com

Photojournalists in Schools - a Duty of Care

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Photojournalists in schools is a unique situation - particularly regarding duty of care for its students - the following information may be applied to many differing professions and businesses also.

Stopping Inappropriate Photos and Follow-Up

You must make sure that the photos taken are appropriate for student, staff member and school.

Do not allow for anything raunchy or what might appear inappropriate.

It is strongly suggested that students and staff in the photo should not:

  • hold any inappropriate prop e.g. cigarette
  • appear before an inappropriate backdrop e.g. toilet or certain signage
  • wear inappropriate clothing e.g. skimpy tops or short skirts
  • be positioned in any inappropriate manner e.g. sitting inappropriately.

If you are not happy with the photojournalist's suggestions, then stop the photo shoot, negotiate a better outcome, or cancel it. You are responsible for trying to get the best most appropriate photo.

You have every right to do this - in fact you may have a responsibility to do this. Advise your School Principal of this situation and outcome.

Know your legal and ethical responsibilities. Seek these from qualified legal practitioners and ethicists.

If the photo session was cancelled, you or your School Principal would seriously consider contacting the media outlet's editor and advising of the inappropriateness of the photojournalist's expectations / demands. This should sort the problem out.

Further courses of action, if no success in the first instance was gained from the editor, would often be to contact the Communication and Marketing Manager within your educational system for guidance and support. Either your School Principal or the Communication and Marketing Manager would probably take the matter further e.g. journalists' association, members of parliament, etc, and even to police / court if there was any abuse. This would be a very rare indeed.

Properly and respectfully encouraging and managing the photojournalist to take the best and most appropriate photo for your story's angle is in the best interest of your profession and business. Be aware that their employer is the media outlet and not you. Often your best diplomatic skills are required.

The 'Photojournalists and Schools - Duty of Care' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com


Photojournalists - Essential for Schools

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Photojournalists are essential for a schools success. They get the 'every picture tells a thousand words' to the general population.

Photojournalists are responsible for getting the best photos they can for their particular media outlets. Photos, like pictures, tell a thousand words - hence you need the best photo possible for your circumstances. Photojournalists will most likely have good ideas to best represent the image you or they want covered.

Photo sessions are usually enjoyable times for all involved. It is not often that people appear in the media.

The photojournalist usually works with the journalist who is covering the story. Yet it is often the photojournalist who decides which photos will be used.

There will be times when the media outlet only wants a photo and just sends a photojournalist. At other times you will need to arrange for interviews and photos at the same or similar times. However, at other times, the interview may happen over the telephone and the photo taken at a separate time. Even though most stories require a photo, sometimes it is not required.

Own Professional or Business Photos

There may also be times when the media outlet is quite happy for you to send your own photos by email instead of having the photojournalist come out.

This usually happens after the outlet appreciates the quality and content of your professional or business photos and the professionalism of your photographers.

This is more common with the smaller publications, or for photos accompanying editorial in special features and for advertising.

Rest assured that the outlets will invariably send out a photographer if you feel you need one.

Marketing Manager and the Photojournalist

The Marketing Manager, or selected well informed staff member, needs to attend all photo sessions. The Marketing Manager should treat it as an enjoyable time and it most likely will end up being so.

You are free to offer suggestions, though the final decision does rest with the photojournalist. Their employer is their media outlet (and not your business) and hence the photo taken is what they want. However, in most cases, the photojournalist is working with you and for the profession or business to be seen in the best light.

It is in their best interests to work with you for many reasons, including the media outlet's need for a good standing in the community. They will also possibly want photos, reactions or stories from your profession, business or field down the track. However, if you are being unfairly obstructive, then follow-up photos for other stories at other times may be few and far between.

For specific details of the unique school situation for dealing with photojournalists see Photojournalists and Schools - Duty of Care.


The 'Photojournalists - Essential for Schools' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com


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